Little Bailie is pretty proud of herself and so are Katie, Mom and I. Bailie finished her Beginner Tracking Course on November 1. Katie and I went along to class with her on that morning and got to watch her run her last class track from our car. It was kind of a blind track and around 600 yards long.
What all did Bailie learn?
- The beginner tracking class started out with just straight short tracks of about ten yards long and then extended out to one hundred yards.
- The first sessions used treats along the track to keep the focus but starting in week four, treats were replaced with articles. Bailie is really into tracking, so she stopped getting treats and/or articles on her tracks altogether. She gets just an article to sniff at the start, and then the article to find at the end. When she finds the end article, she is rewarded with high value treats.
- Along the way, turns were introduced, right angle left and right turns, acute angle turns, and open angle turns. Track distance was also increased up to around four hundred to five hundred yards in length.
- The aging of tracks was also introduced for up to an hour. Aging actually helps concentrate the scent on the trail as it settles out of the air and is not blown around as much by the wind in time. Most humans think aging makes a track more difficult, but a couple hours or less make it a bit easier for dogs.
- The classes pretty much give out the information and “how to”, but practicing on your own is where you really learn.
What is next for Bailie?
- She and Mom will continue to run a variety of tracks several times a week and hopefully meet up with some other trackers to work together laying tracks for each other and helping each other out with tips.
- Mom and Bailie want to work towards tracking titles and the first step is to get certified by a judge. They hope to do this in the next two months or so. The certification is to prove that you have what it takes to pass a Tracking Dog test.
- Hopefully in late February or early March they will travel to a warmer destination and take their TD (Tracking Dog) test and pass.
- Yes, tracking can be done in the snow so they will be practicing in the winter. We don’t use our eyes to track at all, so the fact that there is a trail in the snow doesn’t help us at all. This is hard for humans to wrap their brains around, but it is true.
The video above is a two part short video of Bailie tracking. The first part was taken from the Sony Action Cam mounted on Bailie, the second part was taken with Mom’s phone as she ran behind Bailie. Video is nearly impossible to get because Bailie is extremely fast. If you have motion sickness issues, this video may not be for you! You may see a couple orange clothespins with colored flags, those are turn markers along the track for Mom to use since her nose really isn’t much help. Bailie’s instructor said Bailie is one of the faster dogs and will most likely do her TD test in about four minutes, most dogs take six to eight. We will see. Speed is not the goal, passing is. Please keep in mind, Mom’s goal was to remain upright, keep an eye on Bailie, and video, not easy to do, and if the camera was mounted on her, it would be even worse, so I apologize for the quality, but it is the best we could do.
One last thing on tracking for today. Bailie’s instructor posted this quote in a tracking group we are in and it is so perfect to describe tracking with a dog.
In almost all dog sports, we talk and the dog listens. We direct and the dog obeys. In tracking, the dog speaks and we listen. The only way we can make a true tracking team is if we learn to understand the dogs language instead of vice versa, if we give up being in charge and trust this being to lead us. To get a Tracking title means you have given up control and trusted your partner and he/she did all that you wanted and more. It’s magical.
I’m co hosting the FitDog Friday Blog Hop with SlimDoggy, and To Dog With Love! Please join us on Fridays to share your fitness stories with others, find new ways to have fun, and new fitness ideas too! Tell your friends to stop by as well – fit dogs are healthier, happier dogs!I’m co hosting the FitDog Friday Blog Hop with SlimDoggy, and To Dog With Love! Please join us on Fridays to share your fitness stories with others, find new ways to have fun, and new fitness ideas too! Tell your friends to stop by as well – fit dogs are healthier, happier dogs!